Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Economy, People & Places » Dr. Dylan Vernon’s Book Looks at Political Clientelism & Democracy
Jul 26, 2022

Dr. Dylan Vernon’s Book Looks at Political Clientelism & Democracy

It is a tradition that has been around for generations, and one that the two-party system has perpetuated. In his book, Political Clientelism and Democracy in Belize from My Hand to Yours, author, Doctor Dylan Vernon exposes the problem that is political clientelism and the dangers that it poses to our democracy. The book informs that at least twenty-five percent of the electorate engages in the habit, yet, it is something that hardly anyone openly talks about. News Five’s Marion Ali was present for the discussion among intellects at the U.W.I. open campus and filed the following report.


Dylan Vernon

Dr. Dylan Vernon, Author, Political Clientelism and Democracy in Belize From My Hand to Yours

“It’s a daily phenomenon. All Belizeans have some first, second-hand, third-hand knowledge of it. And as we sit in this room right now today, it could also be happening tomorrow, Thursday, Friday, thousands of Belizeans will be lining up at political clinics. And they will be there for something they want or something they need.”


Marion Ali, Reporting

Political clientelism is defined by the author as “an informal and dynamic political exchange between individual or collective clients who provide or promise political support, and patrons who provide or promise a variety of targeted and divisible resources and favours.” Vernon’s close friends, Dr. Harold Young, and former senator Osmany Salas gave reviews on the book.


Harold Young

Dr. Harold Young, Gave Book Review

“I had to explain it to myself in Kriol. So I hope you will indulge and revel with me as I say it in Kriol. My explanation in Kriol: I waahn powa soh ah wa give yoh sonting fi mek yoh vote fi mi. Or, you gimme some money an ah wa do sonting fi yoh later. Mayn politicians use public and private resources to meet some need of enough voters that they will vote for them and put them in power, put the party in power. The political game is that if you can do this with just enough voters to win power, that’s all that matters.”


Osmany Salas

Osmany Salas, Gave Book Review

“Politicians have effectively become patrons and more citizens and voters have become clients of the politicians. So from the position of the patron, the political party, the political candidate, it is possible to regard political clientelism as just another way of spending resources in order to gain votes, which might just as well have been invested in vote-buying. So political competition, more than doing away with political clientelism, has democratized it. Practicing political clientelism is open to any political party, not only the one in control of public spending.”


But “benefits politics” or “political handouts” which prevails particularly during election season, is illegal, as the author explained.


Dr. Dylan Vernon

“Articles thirty-two to forty-seven of the Representation of the People Act makes vote-buying, vote-selling, and vote influencing illegal and there are punishments of up to five hundred (dollars) in fines and up to one year imprisonment, and also disqualification from running or voting in elections.”


Vernon pointed out that no one has ever been successfully prosecuted in Belize for political handouts. But the launching of the book at this time might be the perfect timing for people to start debating the topic when the People’s Constitutional Commission is about to be introduced. Marion Ali For News Five.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed